Zio-Watch News Round-up

Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup, December 22, 2014


From PressTV

Pledges to rebuild ruined Gaza Strip not honored: Official

A Palestinian man stands in front of a damaged building following an Israeli airstrike on the Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on August 20, 2014.

A senior Palestinian official says international donors have so far failed to deliver on their promises of financial assistance to the war-ravaged Gaza Strip in the wake of Israel’s 50-day onslaught on the besieged territory last summer.

Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa said on Monday that “not even one penny” has been received from major pledged donors such as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, which promised USD 2.7 billion at a conference in the Egyptian capital of Cairo in October to help with the reconstruction of Gaza.

He added, “Frankly speaking, what is happening now is not encouraging.”

Mustafa further noted that only a small tranche of money has been received so far, declining to provide further information.
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From PressTV

Syria conflict has inflicted $20 billion loss on Lebanon: MinisterLebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas

Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas

Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas says the almost four-year-long conflict in neighboring Syria has cost his country more than USD 20 billion (16 billion euros).

“Several factors brought on by the Syria crisis have caused a loss of more than USD 20 billion,” Derbas added.

“Because of this, infrastructure planned to last for 15 years will now have to be changed in just two because of intensive use” due to the presence of 1.1 million refugees from Syria, he added.

The Lebanese minister further pointed to the use of energy resources, primarily electricity, by Syrian refugees taking shelter in Lebanon, who are unable to pay for the services, adding, that Lebanon’s tourism industry has been also badly affected by the ongoing Syria crisis, having lost some 500,000 tourists who used to arrive overland via Syria.

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From the Jewish Daily Forward

How To Be a Modern Maccabee Without Getting Arrested

Despite having nearly no religious significance, Hanukkah stands out as an important cultural event for American Jewry. American gentiles view it as the quintessential Jewish holiday, mostly due to its calendar proximity to Christmas and its inclusion on holiday TV programs. Jewish symbols featured in ads are used to get the Jewish population to participate in “holiday season” consumerism. This is a part of TV’s much broader role in assimilating Jews and other minority groups into America’s capitalist culture. Which is a great irony, because the Hanukkah story is about a revolt against those attempting to acculturate the Jewish people.

My religious upbringing, one typical of a Conservative Jewish family in America, included joyous celebrations of Hanukkah filled with community, bonding and gifts. We sat around the table eating traditional home-cooked meals with lit candles in our menorahs. My brothers and I particularly enjoyed the celebration, since it did not include any dense prayer sessions like other holidays. On occasion we were told the story of Hanukkah: Long ago, Jewish people led by a group known as the Maccabees, whose name is taken from the Hebrew word meaning “hammer,” re-gained control of our holy Temple. Those Hebrew people found one day’s worth of oil that burned miraculously in the Temple’s candelabra for eight days.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

WikiLeaks document: CIA prepares agents to handle screenings at Ben Gurion Airport

(JTA) —  The Central Intelligence Agency offers guidelines for its operatives using false identities to get through a “secondary screening” at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, according to a secret CIA document uploaded to WikiLeaks.

The document, which is titled “CIA Assessment on Surviving Secondary Screening at Airports While Maintaining Cover” and dated September 2011, was uploaded to WikiLeaks on Sunday night, Haaretzreported.

It says Ben Gurion Airport is very thorough at screening international travelers. The guidelines on the secondary screening — what the document calls “a potentially lengthy and detailed look by airport officials at passengers not passing initial scrutiny” — helps the CIA operatives maintain their alias.

The report reveals several details about the security procedures at the airport.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Labor holds edge over Likud, poll shows

(JTA) — Israel’s Labor Party would take two more seats than Likud, according to a new poll on the upcoming elections.

The poll, which was published Monday by the Knesset Channel, shows Labor winning 23 seats, Likud 21 and Jewish Home 16 in the March 17 vote.

The centrist Yesh Atid, which had 19 seats in the last Knesset elections, would drop to 11 seats. Kulanu, a new party created by former Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, would get nine seats.

Also, the leftist Meretz party would win seven seats, one more than it currently holds, as would United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home), which ran with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud in the last elections.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Planeload of Ukrainian immigrants arrives in Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 226 immigrants from Ukraine, among then dozens of families fleeing fighting in eastern Ukraine, landed in Israel.

The immigrants who arrived on Monday, the seventh day of Hanukkah, are the first in an expected group of over 400 Ukrainians who will arrive before the end of the year. A second flight is scheduled to arrive on Dec. 30.

The flights are sponsored by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews along with Israel’s Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and in cooperation with The Jewish Agency, the Global Ezra movement and Nativ.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was among those who welcomed the immigrants in a ceremony. He was joined by the minister of immigration and absorption, Sofa Landver; IFCJ’s founder and president, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein; the chairman of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky; and the director of the global Ezra movement, Danny Elinson.
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From the Jewish Daily Forward

Sheldon Adelson’s No. 2 Michael Leven Steps Out of Shadows

Retires From Casino To Play Bigger Philanthropic Role

By Anthony Weiss

Published December 22, 2014.

(JTA) — At a recent event to launch a pro-Israel mentoring program at UCLA, the speaker introducing Michael Leven gushed, “He was willing to take his own plane and come here to speak to us.”

When it was Leven’s turn to speak, he started with a clarification: “I didn’t take my plane, I took Sheldon Adelson’s. I wish it were my plane.”

If Leven is known to the broader public at all, it is as the No. 2 to Adelson, the casino mogul he has served for the past six years as president and chief operations officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. Leven helped rescue the company from near collapse and return it to profitability.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Sister of killed lone soldier Max Steinberg living in Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The sister of American-Israeli lone soldier Max Steinberg, who was killed during this summer’s Gaza operation, has moved to Israel.

Paige Steinberg, 21, is attending college in Israel at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and living with roommates in the city, Ynet reported.

“I never planned on studying and living in Israel, but I wanted to be as close as possible to my brother,” she told Ynet. “I feel happy here, like I’m following in his footsteps.”

Paige Steinberg visited Israel for the first time in 2011 with Taglit-Birthright Israel; she and her brothers were on the same trip. At the end of the program her older brother, Max, decided he wanted to make his home in Israel.
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From the Jewish Telegrapic Agency

Jewish settlers sentenced to 30 months in jail for ‘price tag’ attack

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two Jewish settlers were sentenced to 30 months in prison for setting several Palestinian cars alight in a West Bank village.

The sentence announced Sunday was the result of a plea bargain with the Lod District Court, which determined that the arson attack in November 2013 in the Palestinian village of Farata was a “price tag” attack.

It was longest sentence meted out to individuals convicted of carrying out a price tag attack against Palestinians, according to the Times of Israel.

Yehuda Landsberg and Yehuda Savir, from the Gilad Farm outpost in the northern West Bank, also were ordered to pay more than $3,800 in compensation to the owner of one of the cars. The sentence also included a 12-month suspended prison term if they commit a similar crime in the next three years.
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From PressTV

1 in 3 kids in Israel lives in poverty, report says

A file photo of a food bank for the poor in Israel

A file photo of a food bank for the poor in Israel

One out of every three Israeli children has lived in poverty in the current year, a new report has found.

The findings of a poverty survey published by Israeli Humanitarian Aid Organization, Latet, showed that there are some 2,546,000 million poor people in Israel, including 932,000 children, Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper reported on Monday.

The report revealed that one fourth of the children in Israel went to sleep hungry at least a few times every month, while 65 percent of the kids do not receive a hot meal at school.

Based on the report’s findings, 65 percent of impoverished families had to give up on medicine or medical treatment for their children at some point in 2013 while more than one third of poor children went to work in order to help their families, and, as such, some nearly 30 percent of children dropped out of school last year.
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